US says St. Lucia doing little to seek justice in extra-judicial killings

stlucia crime

Police in St. Lucia have been accused of extra-judicial killings. (Photo: Telegraph)

 

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Tuesday January 12, 2016 – The government of St. Lucia is being accused of making no real effort to prosecute police officers involved in extra-judicial killings that occurred as far back as 2010.

A year after CARICOM’s Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) issued a report on an investigation into allegations that members of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force committed extra-judicial killings from 2010 to 2011, the Embassy of the United States of America to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean says it has seen little done.

In a statement issued today, the US Embassy said it was “a commendable step” by the government to invite IMPACS to carry out the probe.

“Unfortunately,” it said, “progress on pursuing justice in these killings halted after the report’s issuance in March 2015. Despite the significance of the IMPACS report for human rights, national security concerns, and St. Lucia’s international reputation, the Government of St. Lucia has made no meaningful progress towards criminal prosecution in 10 months.

“The Embassy of the United States of America to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, therefore, urges the Government of St. Lucia to ensure the rule of law is upheld. We are concerned that four years have passed since these allegations of human rights violations first surfaced and due process is yet to be served,” it added.

The Embassy described as “disappointing”, the announcement by Director of Public Prosecutions Victoria Charles Clarke last November that her office was not provided sufficient resources or the report’s investigative files, therefore precluding furthering criminal prosecution.

“We encourage the St. Lucian government to activate the promised implementation oversight committee under the Prime Minister’s chairmanship.  Such a committee could serve to ensure that the entire government is working effectively together to achieve due process,” the US statement said.

“We applaud the St. Lucian government’s approval in September of a reformed ‘Use of Force’ policy that guides security forces to protect both national security and human rights.  We praise the participation of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force in human rights training courses. However, these measures alone are not sufficient for St. Lucia to demonstrate its commitment to the rule of law.”

The Embassy further encouraged the Dr. Kenny Anthony administration to take all available measures to guarantee the rule of law is upheld.

It said it was willing to assist St. Lucia’s in its efforts to ensure due process in the framework of the country’s criminal justice system.

According to the US, a clear demonstration of the Government of St. Lucia’s commitment to the rule of law would benefit citizens as well as the island’s international standing as a trusted, democratic partner in economic and security cooperation.

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